2&6’s weekly deep dive on the art on top of the art, bringing you the history and inspiration behind some of the most legendary album covers. You shouldn’t judge a book by it cover, nobody said anything about albums.
WRITTEN BY: @ALBUMARTWORKBLOG
The Plug // Plug Talk // The Plug Records // 2019
Last year, Jack the Plug, an owner of two weed café’s in Amsterdam and Barcelona weed café, along- side esteemed recording engineer, Sean D, produced a wild collaboration album. The project bands together an array of talented artists from the UK and the USA, striving to unite the two audiences as well. A collection of A-grade tracks, the album has even sometimes been mentioned as one of the biggest rap albums to come out of 2019. Heavily alluding to the collaboration, the cover of the
album features tattered British phone booth situated atop the Hollywood hills peering over LA below.
MSNR Frites // The River Wandle // MSNR Frites // 2015
MSNR Frites, heavily affiliated with groups such as Mossville Sessions and Granville Squad, released his debut album in 2015, ‘The River Wandle”. The album features some boom bap bars over hip hop funk beats. The South London rapper released the album as a solo project, paying homage to the Thames tributary from which the name is derived. The river flows as casually as his lyrics as he depicts the life of an average Londoner. Contrary to the “road-rap” common-place at the time, the artwork supports the a more tranquil, banal expression of its origin. Perhaps this is paramount to the understated, approachable and above all relatability of the lyrics.
Coops // God Complex // Deadicated /Vinyl Digital // 2016
2016 marked the release of Coops debut album “God Complex”. 3 Years prior, the North London rapper was presented a chance to perform at the London O2 Arena with New York legend, Nas, after winning the Choice FM Breakthrough Competition. Coops has previously noted Nas as a crucial influence for his music and such influences can be heard through this album, in the form of a US style flow over distinctly jazzy-hip hop beats. Accompanying the music is artwork giving a nod to the iconic Creation of Adam painted by Michelangelo. A god complex is when someone thinks of themself as godlike, so in the image used for the album cover, the passing of the joint pokes fun of the proverbial ‘passing of the torch’ from God to Coops.
Mala // Mirrors // Brownswood Recordings // 2016
Since being familiar face at the iconic FWD>> nights in Croydon, Mala has always looked for new ways to shake up his style of music. A pioneer of the UK dubstep scene and by affiliation, also the grime scene, Mala’s 2016 album, Mirrors, documents his time in Peru. Released on Gilles Peterson’s label, the entire album combines the bass-heavy beats for which he is known with Peruvian influences such as pan pipes and Andean drum samples. The end result is a satisfying mixture of world music tunes peppered with a few out-of-the box grime instrumentals like ‘Cusco Street Scene’. The cover of the album is a simple yet aesthetic empty desert with a sunset colour correction which links effortlessly to the peaceful and spacey tracks of the album. In fact, listening the album on the couch with your eyes closed will provoke your imagination to conjure imagery such as that adorned on the front cover.
Akala // The Thieves Banquet // Illa State Records // 2013
Rapper, journalist, activist, poet, author – Akala is quite the renaissance man which makes it hard to be surprised that he does such an efficient job of tackling most world issues in just under an hour. Combing two of his previously noted ventures, Akala launches a verbal attack on the monarchs of empire, a cartel of bankers, the heads of religious orders, and the third-world dictators”. Both spoken word and rap are employed over an array of soul, jazz, blues and rock instrumentals. The artwork foreshadows the theme by combining various symbols of power, greed and misery cast behind some notable ‘thieves’ at a dinner table.